Acting chairman of the Rivers State Internal Revenue Service, Mr Chibuzor Aholu has described Friday’s verdict of the court of appeal, ordering the Rivers State government to suspend the collection of Value Added Tax, VAT, as an endorsement of illegality which has been perpetuated by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, for a very long time.
But Aholu said unlike the FIRS, Rivers State was governed by a law abiding government and would obey the court of appeal order. He however said the appropriate law officers of the state government will take necessary judicial steps to address the issue.
Aholu made the position known in a telephone interview with TNN. He said it was shocking that the FIRS had tried to get an endorsement of its illegal collections of VAT from states, through the backdoor, by writing to the National Assembly, seeking the amendment of the nation’s constitution.
Justice Haruna Simon Tsanami of the Abuja division of the court of appeal who issued the order in Abuja on Friday had also directed that the law passed by Rivers State House of Assembly and assented to by Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike must not be implemented.
The appellate court held that since parties had submitted themselves to the authorities of the court for adjudication of the matter, they must not do anything that would destroy the subject matter of the appeal.
Specifically, Tsanami ordered the status quo ante in favour of the Federal Inland Revenue Services FIRS and against the Rivers State government.
The matter has been slated for September 16 for a hearing of the motion for joinder by Lagos State.
The state government is yet to react to the court of appeal judgement.